CMU Report Confirms Performers Earn Nearly Nothing From Streaming

Updated: Sep 2, 2021

Call for Reform - Member States’ must implement new copyrights mechanism as performers continue to be left behind; streaming subscriptions soar while performers struggle to maintain livelihood

Recent findings confirm and support performers’ outcry – performers earn little to nothing from streaming services. In its latest report entitled “Performer Payments from Streaming” (attached), Complete Music Update (CMU) breaks down the division of streaming revenues amongst stakeholders including producers, streaming services, actors, featured performers and session musicians. The picture they paint is stark – while companies like Netflix, Amazon, Spotify and Deezer increase their profits, the share of income distributed to performers is lagging and cannot guarantee their livelihood.

Streaming accounts now for over 60% of global revenues in the music sector and is the “biggest and fastest growing revenue stream” for the European audio-visual sector’s revenues. Nonetheless, through discussions with managers, lawyers, accountants, CMOs and unions throughout Europe, CMU was able to confirm what had been known approximately before – actors generally receive nothing from streaming services, session musicians earn nothing, while featured artists earn between 5-8% on average of revenues generated by streaming (which amounts to less than €1,000 per year for the vast majority of featured artists). For reference, authors (and their publishers) earn approximately 10% - 15% of revenues, a share that is already relatively low in comparison to record companies which receive 50% of revenues.

The current contractual system is not delivering fair remuneration for performers. They are in a weak negotiating position and “statutory remuneration rights do not apply to video-on-demand” and streaming services. Consequently, performers have not benefitted from the sector boom at all. The system is broken, leaving actors, singers and musicians helpless and in dire need of a coordinated change throughout EU Member States.

PayPerformers urges Member States to provide performers with “appropriate and proportionate remuneration” as required by Article 18 of the Digital Single Market Directive. The best mechanism for providing fair remuneration is with an unwaivable remuneration right, subject to collective management. This has been proposed by PayPerformers, by recent independent studies by WIPO, Professor Raquel Xalabarder and the European Copyright Society. Moreover, it has already been implemented in Spain, Hungary, Germany and Italy (for AV only in Italy).

An unwaivable remuneration right, subject to collective management is the only way that Member States can guarantee that performers will receive fair remuneration from streaming. This is the solution that is requested by performers throughout the EU.

You can find more information about the report here.

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